Weekly Wrap-Up 25 – 31 Aug: August Wrap Up & September Reading Plans

Hello readers!

Half an hour ago I complained it was already August, and now September is tomorrow. Time is going by crazy fast (and yet, it’s never my vacation!). This week has been quite restoring – surprisingly, I got lots of reading and relaxing done. The state of lack of focus and energy that I’ve been feeling for months now seems to be slowly going away. It feels quite good to feel more like myself.

From my August Reading Plans I managed:

  • House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • Things we lost in the fire by Mariana Enriquez
  • Drive your plow over the bones of the dead by Olga Tokarczuk
  • My Heart’s in the Highlands by Amy Hoff
  • Hysteria by Jessica Gross
  • Sisters by Daisy Johnson
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (ongoing)

Actually I’m very impressed with myself! I read all the books I wanted to read this month plus a few more (It Would be Night in Caracas which I’d started in July, The House in Smyrna, Fangs, How Should One Read a Book?, Pequeno Manual Antirracista and started both Breasts and Eggs and The Suicide House)

For September I’d like to read:

The Fire Starters Jen Carson the mercies kiran millwood hargrave luster raven leilani Continue reading

Review: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

drive your plow over the bones of the dead Olga Tokarczuk

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Translated Fiction, Mystery

In a remote Polish village, Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. She is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars; and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, Duszejko becomes involved in the investigation.

This rather unassuming synopsis does not tell the most interesting part of this story: Mrs. Duszejko is convinced that Animals are taking revenge on people who hunt them, killing them one by one. She finds evidences of the presence of animals on the area of the murders, and draws their horoscopes to try to prove to the police that her theory is right. I was left  half convinced that she is not entirely sane during the entire book, torn between believing her or not. The victims are also involved in some mysterious crime, a far more plausible explanation for their murders, but Mrs. Duszejko is convinced otherwise. Continue reading

Review: Things we Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Things we lost in the fire mariana enriquezRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Mystery, Horror, Short Stories

Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of eerie stories centered on women and girls in Argentina, with a touch of urban myth. This exceptional short stories book is the second work by Mariana Enriquez I read and it’s become one of my favorite short stories books. The perfect mixture of mundane worries with surpernatural horror and with the endings open enough that you imagine what happens after the stories, and they live in your imagination longer than in the pages. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up 18 – 24 August: Creepy Reads

Hello readers!

This week was particularly creepy – on my reading list, that is. Real life was thankfully boring. I finished Things We Lost in the Fire, Fangs and Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead. I’ve already bullied my mom and my sister into reading Things We List in the Fire, which I think will make nobody sleep for a week and both of them never to take recommendations from me ever again. I also started Hamnet and Hysteria. All the books I finished were 4 stars, which speaks very well of my reading week!

In case you missed it, you should check out my list of Latinx Books to Read Instead of American Dirt from a couple weeks ago! Took me a while to compile a list, and I’ve got a few more in the making, as I slowly go though my list of to-be-read Latinx (especially Brazilian) literature. I do love coming up with very specific lists – next I want to write a list of Latin American recommendations for Women in Translation month. Unfortunately that won’t be done in time for this year’s WIT month so it will be quietly sitting on my drafts for almost a year as I slowly add more books to it.

Do you guys also write posts SUPER in advance? I confess I’m lowkey obsessed with doing that. I start my “Best books of the year” list on January every year, and write a little bit on it every time I read something great.

I forgot to list in other Wrap Ups, but I received the following books from Netgalley in the past couple weeks:

fangs sarah andersen the suicide house charlie donlea luster raven leilani

The Death of Vivek Oji akwaeke emezi

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Bilingual Review [EN/PT]: The House in Smyrna / A Chave de Casa by Tatiana Salem Levy

a chave de casa tatiana salem levy

(Keep scrolling down for the English review.)


Nota: ★★★★☆

Categorias: Ficção Contemporânea

Passando por temas como a morte da mãe, a relação com um homem violento, viagem, raízes, herança e etc, A chave de casa é um livro pulsante, cheio de vida e emoção. A autora tece um romance de vozes diversas – como são as vozes da memória -, histórias que se complementam num tom de densa estranheza. Romance de estréia da jovem escritora Tatiana Salem Levy. 

Fiquei surpresa ao ver que este é o romance de estréia da autora – sua maestria na escrita de um romance com diversas narrativas fragmentadas me encantou completamente. Seu estilo me lembrou um pouco de Virginia Woolf e Clarice Lispector, com uma linha da história alternando entre pontos de vista, ano e país, fragmentadas, e obrigando o leitor a se esforçar para entender a narrativa não-linear. Eu pessoalmente gosto muito desse tipo de história (embora não tenha me dado bem com os romances de Clarice ainda), em que o leitor tem que se concentrar e se entregar à história, tentando desvendar vários pontos da narração ao mesmo tempo em que desconfia dela. No final o sentimento  que tive ao terminar o livro é de gratificação por ter uma imagem da personagem e como ela chegou a ser quem é, as coisas que ela passou, como ela pensa e se sente. Não é um livro fácil, mas é curto e, levando em conta que ele venceu o Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura, sinto-me confiante ao recomendá-lo. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up 11 – 17 August: Look at me actually following through with my reading plans!

Hello readers!

This was an incredible reading week. I managed to finish The House of Spirits (excellent read), The House in Smyrna (so unique and raw) and Sisters (creepy and wonderfully written). The last two books were very short, but still I feel very accomplished! I’ve then started Things We Lost in the Fire and Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead. This puts me far closer to reaching my August reading goals, with 3/7 books finished.

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Review: The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

The House of Spirits Isabel Allende

Rating: ★★★★★

Categories: Magic Realism, Translated Fiction

As a girl, Clara del Valle can read fortunes, make objects move as if they had lives of their own, and predict the future. Following the mysterious death of her sister, Rosa the Beautiful, Clara is mute for nine years. When she breaks her silence, it is to announce that she will be married soon to the stern and volatile landowner Esteban Trueba.

Set in an unnamed Latin American country over three generations, The House of the Spirits is a magnificent epic of a proud and passionate family, secret loves and violent revolution.

This beautifully written epic tells the story of generations of the families Trueba and del Valle, whose fates are forever connected when Esteban Trueba falls in love with Rosa. The magical realism is so well-done, the magic interwoven seamlessly into the story and adding a layer of beauty to it – I have a soft spot for magical realism and this was just perfectly executed. Continue reading

Latinx Books to Read Instead of American Dirt

Hello readers!

Around the same time that American Dirt (in case you don’t know: that’s an infamous “immigration thriller” by a white author who misrepresents Mexican culture and stereotypes immigrants) started hitting Bestseller lists, I picked up Dominicana by Angie Cruz, a story about a young woman marrying an older man because of her family’s dream to move to the US, a shortlisted book to the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It was incredibly frustrating.

I am tired of seeing Latinx books that get attention and international readership for displaying Latinx pain, and portraying the US as a safe haven, land of freedom, the happiest ending any Latin American could wish for – and it’s even worse that American Dirt is not even written by a Latinx author, whereas in Dominicana at least the writing was really good and sensitive, even if I disliked the book.

So I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a list of Latinx books I recommend instead!

It was not that easy to come up with this list, because most of the Latinx books I read are in Portuguese and not many are translated into English, so I spent more time looking into translated-to-English books as well. I originally wanted to post this months ago.

When I write “Translated” in the list below, I mean: this was originally written in Portuguese/Spanish and there is a translation into English available.

I also have already a post on some recommendations of Brazilian books and one focused on my project of reading more Latinx books:

My Favorite Brazilian Books Translated to English + 1 Written in English

Reading Latinx Books Project with @cbookrambling

Without further ado, here are 15 books I recommend:

Latinx Books Recommendations

one hundred years of solitude gabriel garcia marquez gods of jade and shadow silvia moreno-garcia in the dream house carmen maria machado

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez / Colombian, Classical Fiction, Magical Realism, Translated

Starting with a well-known and beloved one! This beautiful family saga is peppered with magical realism and is so gorgeously written, so full of sorrow, loneliness and broken people, it’s easy to lose yourself into the story, although it’s perhaps not as easy to keep the characters apart, whose names are very similar. Still, this is one of my favorite classics!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia / Review Mexican, Fantasy

This reads very much like a fairy tale; it’s set in Mexico, where Mayan gods still exist and is full of adventure and a romance subplot. Moreno-Garcia has a few books out, including one thriller with sharks and an upcoming Gothic horror. She writes such interesting stories!

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado / Review / American-Cuban, Memoir

This is a fantastic memoir, uniquely told in several chapters, each in a different style from a different fictional genre. It’s the perfect book for fiction readers who want to broaden their reading with some non-fiction and are worried about boring writing. It tells the author’s real experience with an abusive Sapphic relationship and it’s brilliant. Continue reading

eARC Review: My Heart’s in the Highlands by Amy Hoff

My Heart's in the Highlands amy hoff

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Historical Romance, F/F

I received an advance copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lady Jane Crichton is a scientist, one of the seven women to have gone to the Edinburgh University, even if they weren’t given diplomas for their graduations. She is smart and beautiful, happy in a marriage of convenience with David, who gives her the means and the support to pursue her career, and for whom she guards a secret. When Jane creates a time machine and travels to the 13th century, the last thing she expects is that the people she thought of as “savages” may be, in many ways, far more civilized than 1888 Edinburgh. She meets Ainslie, the daughter of the clean chief, and slowly finds herself realizing she might be falling in love for the first time in her life. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap-Up 4 – 10 August: Lots of #WIT reads!

Hello readers!

For a change I haven’t ordered or received any books this week, added only a couple books to my TBR, and in fact got some reading done, so my TBR went ever so slightly down. Is this a trend? I hope so.

Family dramas set in Latin America seem to be a trend for this week, with The House of Spirits and The House in Smyrna (both of which count for Women in Translation challenge, by the way). Reading them both together was not a wise choice because I like to have a fast-reading book and a slow-reading book, and both of these are rather slow-reading, so I’m thinking of picking up another book to change things up a bit (also reading two family dramas is a bit confusing). Talking about WIT, I finished It Would be Night in Caracas! This was a very impacting read and I’m really glad I picked it up. I’ve also started and finished My Heart’s in the Highlands, a fluffy F/F romance that was entertaining but not brilliant. With 3 Latin-American reads this week, I feel quite proud.

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